2020 kicks off a new decade! It’s a new cycle and a fresh generation. It’s impossible not to think about what we can do to make positive changes in our everyday lives.
How did you do with your goals in 2019? Goals and resolutions are great; they can be power motivators, but they’re not always achievable. How many Dry Januaries and new gym memberships don’t make it into the third week? We all want to be better and do better, but the problem with resolutions is the temptation is always to bite off too much, and to just as quickly be disappointed when we’re not instantly transformed into the better, brighter versions of ourselves we’d like to see in the world.
The only resolutions that matter are the ones we can keep. That doesn’t mean we should set easy goals for ourselves, but it does mean we should be realistic. Setting and then failing to achieve impossible goals will only ensure disappointment. Setting ourselves daily goals that we can achieve and enable us to improve our lives and our worlds, one little step at a time, will set the stage for 2020 to be our greatest year yet!
So this is my list of realistic resolutions that can fit your goals for this new year!
Stay in touch with your body. A healthy body is the key to achieving so much, and just because you feel good right now doesn’t mean everything’s right. Even worse, if there are niggling issues you’re ignoring: don’t! Everything is easier with a healthy organism. You’re body is the only one you’re ever going to have, so take care of it!
Lose weight, but how much?
OK, so this is a cliche, right? Almost everyone wants to lose weight, but the majority of us fail. Rather than saying 10kg, or 2 dress sizes, set instead a goal of greater health and well-being. Set the goal to be more active, everyday. Cardiovascular exercises are the best for this, and the good news is that the best cardio exercises are all around us. Walk, run, climb stairs. Finding ways to incorporate exercise into your everyday activities is easy. Rather than catching a bus or train, walk; or simply get off a few stops early. Or choose to ride a bike. There are a thousand opportunities every day to help yourself, and not one of them requires you to join a gym.
Do you feel sad on Sunday evening at the prospect of going back to work on Monday? Are you earning and saving enough to live the life you want now and in the future? Don’t fall into the trap of doing a job you’re not passionate about. Life’s too short!
If you dread Mondays, or only feel alive on holidays, then you owe yourself a revolution! Make this the year you find what you would love to do each day and start making a plan to get there!
A healthy mind is key to a healthy body, and meditation is the key to a healthy mind. Organize your thoughts and your time; calm yourself and be more aware of the world around you. As little as 10 minutes each day has been shown to have benefits for improved sleep and reduced stress.
Start a hobby.
Hobbies are great! They engage our brains and open new facets of the world to you. Exploring our pleasures, whether it’s playing a sport, learning a new language, taking up an instrument, doing crafts or painting; the most important thing is that expands your life and passions. So for 2020, find for yourself: what’s the one thing you always wanted to try? That’s your new hobby!
This resolution is dear to my heart; the protection of the environment is a key issue for 2020 and the future. Finding ways to cut down on waste and live more sustainably helps all of us. So resolve to recycle more, waste less and reuse wherever possible. And when you do that, think about….
Control your Consumerism
Our society is driven by consuming ever newer and more expensive products and clothes, while throwing away all the things we no longer need, whether they do the job or not. Commit yourself in 2020 to reflecting on what you really need and less about what you imagine (or are simply told) you want.
Change of eating habits.
Do you eat well? Do you eat too well? Are your cheat days outnumbering your diet days? Eating “right” is hard, and takes a constant effort. But by listening to our body – to our organism! – we can start to set the balance right.
Don’t strain to force down your five a day or struggle to eat breakfast, just because the ads tell you “it’s the most important meal of the day”. But do reduce your in take of “cheap” energy like carbohydrates and instead, make your body work for its fuel! High fibre foods (like vegetables) don’t come with the same quick sugar hit (and subsequent sugar withdrawal), but they’ll burn longer, keep you feeling fuller and won’t be stored so quickly as fat. So maybe strain a little to eat your five (or more) a day.
Travel to that dream place.
Travel! Escape! Education! Do you dream of seeing particular places, people and things? Do you have family to visit or locations you dream of seeing? Make this the year you get there! Make a plan. Choose the perfect date to be there and commit yourself to it! Mark it in your diary and tell yourself: that’s when you’ll be there!
You’ll be amazed how easily – and imagine how happy! – it is to achieve these goals when you remove the chance not to. Don’t make excuses. Don’t worry about work being busy or the cost of flights. Travel is the most achievable dream we have now; don’t regret not experiencing it for another year.
Stop smoking and drinking.
OK this last one is big and hard. Do you smoke? Stop! There are no upsides to killing yourself slowly; robbing yourself of years. And even harder: do you drink alcohol? It’s a poison too, and now vastly more socially acceptable than smoking. We may not understand the ramifications as clearly as “smoking leads to lung cancer”, but there’s little doubt that anything in excess won’t help you.
Cut down. Reduce. Have a glass or two less at each sitting. Make sure you have days each week when you can choose not to drink or smoke. Test yourself. Are you addicted? Are you happy to be dependent on a poison? Don’t let the luxuries of your life become the chains that bind you.
If you want to take back control and are having trouble leaving it, seek help. Ask your doctor for professional advice. There are numerous groups who can help, but the greatest help will be your friends and family. Tell them of the changes you want to make and let them help you stay strong. It will be hard, but your real friends and strongest supports are the ones who’ll distract you, take the extra drink from your hand and lend you a sympathetic ear when it’s at its hardest.
Be strong. It will be worth it. And some day soon you’ll wake up and not remember needing any of it.